Julie & Nate Channel the Colonial Aesthetic

Julie & Nate Channel the Colonial Aesthetic

Lindsey Roberts
Oct 29, 2009

Name: Julie and Nate
Location: Potomac Falls, Virginia
Size: 2,000 square feet
Years lived in: 1

Like good Mid-Atlantic residents, Julie and Nate appreciate antiques and a décor reminiscent of our country's early days. What they don't appreciate, however, is a fussy, stuffy interior. Their goal was to keep the spaces airy and light, while incorporating family heirlooms and antiques from local shops.

When I saw their house for the first time, I was a recent transplant from the Northwest, where mid-century modern, clean lines and neutral palettes rule. I was having a hard time finding the beauty in traditional interiors — the Northwest just doesn't have antiques like the Mid-Atlantic does; they're either Asian in origin or reminiscent of retro days. On first tour of Julie and Nate's house, however, I was won over.

The spaces are clean, light and airy. The color palette is cheerful. Each antique can be appreciated on its own, because there's so much room around it to breathe. I also admire Julie's commitment to white. All of her white pieces — from her Crate & Barrel White Pearl dinnerware displayed in the antique hutch, to the white kitchen table, to the white bathtub and bath accents — unify her home and keep it simple.

She also mastered the mix of retail store and antique store finds: the Crate & Barrel plates are displayed next to the antique serving pieces; the Target linens cover a table given by friends. My favorite antique touches are the antique map of Washington, DC next to the colonial-style candlelit sconce in the entry and the rocking chairs in the living room. Their house speaks to the past while working well with the present need to keep spaces roomy and functional for busy 21st-century lifestyles.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My/Our style: Traditional and comfortable.

Inspiration: I love touring historic American homes and always looked forward to the day when I owned my own home and could create that same classic elegant feel while maintaining simplicity and comfort. Stuffiness is not allowed.

Favorite Element: Light. Our house has wonderful windows. We enjoy the way light impacts the feel of each room. Sunrise in the living room and twilight in the kitchen are my favorites.

Biggest Challenge: Keeping it clean. Everything is white! Also, making small spaces feel big.

What Friends Say: My favorite reaction to someone coming to our house was, "You have a grown up house!"

Biggest Embarrassment: The lack of storage in our powder room. We consistently run out of toilet paper when guests are over and there isn't a good place to store a spare roll.

Proudest DIY: The floral arrangement in the living room. I have to admit that my mom and aunt did it for our wedding. I've managed to protect it since.

Biggest Indulgence: 170 year old Sheraton hutch. It was the first piece of furniture we purchased. Another dream come true.

Best advice: Everything in our house is either an antique with a wonderful tale of how it was found, a piece we purchased while traveling, or a family heirloom with a history. Our house is a record of who we are, what we've done, and where we came from. Make sure your house embodies who you are. Don't worry about styles or fads. If you are comfortable it will become a haven for you and your family. Who needs a vacation when you can go home?

Dream source: While I love Pottery Barn, I don't ever want our house to look like one particular source.

Resources of Note (furnishings, hardware, appliances & materials):

Paint & Colors:
Every room in the house was painted by the previous owners. They had great taste!

Chest, My Whit's End antique store (Wonderful owners!); Carpet, Pottery Barn; Antique map of Washington, DC, inherited from my grandmother's best friend Roslyn; Spindle Chair, Old Lucketts Store; Topiary; decoration from our wedding; Marble flooring

Kitchen table, Crate and Barrel; One large rectangular tablecloth from Pottery Barn redesigned to fit our circular table; Silestone countertops; Limestone flooring

Living Room:
Sofa, my mother's rose-colored sofa with a custom made tan slipcover made by my aunt as a wedding present; Hutch, first furniture we bought together (Huge splurge!); Red chest, antique store in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania; White side chair, Haverty's; Large crystal votives, wedding presents; Dupioni silk curtains with voile sheers, Pottery Barn; Drop leaf table, antique store in New Market, Maryland purchased by my mother in 1979

Dining Room:
Mount Vernon picture, donated by my mom. (Every single one of my friends parents has this picture); Side pedestal table, on loan from friends who are living overseas; Table, gift from family friend; Linens, Target (I used to buy fancy table cloths, but my friends would stain them every time we hosted an event.)

Guest Bedroom:
Rod Tied Victorian Spindle bed circa 1880, on loan from family friend, Federalist dresser and shelf, my dresser growing up; Collectibles, given to me from my mother and aunts; Woven seat chair, given to my from my aunt

Bed and dresser set, my grandmothers, made in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the 1940s; Bedding, Pottery Barn; Side table one, antique store in Hanover, Pennsylvania; Side table two, my grandmother's.

Double vanity sink, mirror and cabinet, and pedestal soaking tub, Restoration Hardware; Subway tile with cap molding half-way up walls and in shower

Sofa and chairs, Pottery Barn, will be our patio furniture once we purchase a sofa for the basement; Media center, Crate and Barrel

Thanks, Julie and Nate!

Images: Lindsey Roberts

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